It’s time to head out to see my darling Dad in the Netherlands, which I do four times a year. I’ll be flying out on Sunday but this time Greg will join me while Yorkie Sam and his pet-sitter hold the fort at the Cox Castle. This is what I’ve packed. 

A few things upfront before I delve into the details of the travel capsule:

  • I’ll be visiting family, seeing dear friend Inge, doing errands, organizing, shopping, eating out, and going to appointments. I’ll be hanging out with my Dad in his home town of Velp, with daily trips to nearby Arnhem (a 15-minute bus ride). These very quaint and local towns are on the east side of the Netherlands and close to the German border. They are about an hour and a half away from Amsterdam.
  • I keep my outfits on the dressier side of casual because that’s true to my style.
  • Temperatures will be around 0 to 7 degrees Celsius (32 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit). Very grey and a little wet. Hopefully there won’t be much snow and ice, but there’s a biting icy wind in the Netherlands that makes it feel colder than it is — especially when you’re walking. Since I do a LOT of walking and take public transport when I visit my Dad, it’s very important to layer, wrap up, and wear comfortable footwear.
  • I’ll be putting a suitcase in the hold because I like to have more dressing options than a carry-on can accommodate. I’ll also be bringing presents for family and doing some shopping, which requires extra space.
  • I will not be doing laundry on the trip.
  • I can magically keep white and cream wardrobe items clean, and have been travelling with them for years. It’s a complete non-issue.
  • The capsule excludes the outfit that I will wear on both non-stop ten-hour flights. It’s the same outfit, and I’ve shown the components at the end of this post.

I’ve mentioned a few times that I crave a change in colour more than a change in silhouette. This is why the palette of my capsule is colour-rich, yet the items create the same daily uniform.

The Palette

I’ll create high-contrast, colourful outfits that look punchy and make me feel alive. Blue denim, navy, orange, citron and cream are the dominant colours in the capsule. Navy is a slam dunk with orange, and looks lovely with citron and chartreuse. Creams and white lighten the palette and match my hair. There are gold, white and burgundy accents just for fun, and an extremely small smattering of black.

The Outfit Formula

Foundation: Turtleneck + Jeans + Blazer + High-Shaft Flat Shoes + Coat + Specs

Finishing Touch: Scarf + Pom-Pom + Hat + Gloves + Watch + Jewellery

The items in the capsule can be mixed and matched till the cows come come. It’s a satisfying mix that is true to my style since it combines classics with trendier items, wardrobe essentials with statement pieces, solids with patterns, neutrals with colours, and old items with newbies. Plenty of variety but with a good amount of discipline. The silhouettes are simple. It’s the colour of the item, the bold combination of the colours, the accessories, and the mix of patterns that give the outfits their kick. Do not underestimate the power of colour as an effective styling tool.

Here’s more detail on each part of the capsule. Note that wardrobe basics, like undies, camisoles, sleepwear, loungewear, socks and knee-highs are not represented here. For the rest, these are the exact wardrobe items that I packed and will be wearing en route.

Footwear

I build a travel capsule around my shoes because it’s extremely important to have happy feet when you’re walking around a city and using public transport. Once I knew which ultra comfortable shoes I was taking, I planned the rest of the outfits to work with them.

I chose my gold boots to inject newness and futuristic glam into my outfits. They’ve been on shopping trips with clients so I know they can go the distance. I chose cream hi-top sneakers because their fleece lining is very warm, and the grippy soles are good in grotty weather. They are my most comfortable shoes of all time. I’ll wear the shoes with socks or knee-highs to keep warm.

Bottoms

I desperately wanted to take Winter dresses and tall dressy boots, but jeans and booties are more practical for the activities and weather on this trip. I chose three pairs of jeans, although two would have been sufficient. A pair of cropped blue straights, full-length dark skinnies, and white boyfriend jeans create variety.

Tops

I’ve packed five tops, which is more than I need. I’ve stuck to fine gauge woolly turtlenecks and one crew neck because they’re dead right for the weather, AND they layer well under blazers. Plenty of colour variety — just how I like it! Each of the five pullovers can be worn under either of the two blazers.

Toppers

I’ll wear a blazer each day to add polish and dressiness to my outfit, hence I packed two Winter weight blazers so that I can alternate and prevent outfit boredom. Both blazers are patterned, although the navy polka dot is like a “false plain.” I’ll need a coat for outside and chose my warm chartreuse cocoon coat because it fits beautifully and comfortably over the blazers. I’ll be very layered, but I don’t mind one bit. I’ll be warm and insulated, and feel pulled together with blazer and pullover when I remove my coat indoors.

Boden
Velvet Emilia Blazer
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Top Pick
19
Boden
Mirabelle Blazer
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33
Karen Millen
TIE-NECK COAT
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Top Pick
24

Accessories

I packed many accessories because they change up my look, create a maximal vibe, keep me warm, and don’t take up space. I chose two scarves – one patterned, one solid – that can work across any of the outfits in the capsule because I like bold colour combinations, and enjoy pattern mixing. I chose a citron crossbody because it’s matchy-matchy with the coat, and easy for travel. It’s a dressy Furla because casual bags are not my thing, and I like the way they amp up a pair of jeans and sneakers.The patterned pom-pom hooks onto my bag and makes me smile. I chose two dressier belts because they also add polish to my casual outfits. Cream headgear and gloves are essential for walking in the cold morning and night. I’m leaving off my pearl necklace, but wearing pearl wedding ring with bracelets and watch daily.

I will also be travelling with an umbrella and a cashmere wrap. I’ve left the wrap out of the capsule because it will NOT be styled into these outfits. It’s loungewear and a cosy blanket for plane travel only.

Travel Outfit

This is the exact outfit that I will wear on the flight out to Amsterdam, and the flight back to Seattle eight days later. It follows my strategy for what to wear on long flights. Layers, fabrics with stretch, fluid fits, and soft fabrics are cosy, comfortable and insulating for plane travel. A jacket, scarf, belt and dressy bag also make my casual outfit look pulled together and polished. Comfortable shoes are essential for comfort when traipsing through airports and catching public transport with luggage. I’ll pack my jacket and coat into my hand luggage during the flight and while I’m at the airport, but will need it on the other side when when we take organized transport through to my Dad’s apartment.

The jeans, pullover and denim jacket that I wear on both flights do not get worn during my trip, which is why they’ve been excluded from the travel capsule. I will wear the scarf, and possibly the navy boots and belt, if I feel like it.

I tried on the outfit combinations I was a little unsure about BEFORE I made my final decision on what to pack. You can visit the collection page to see my travel capsule in its entirety. The picture below shows the items just before I started packing.

Travel Capsule